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Merchants See Mixed Results from Diverted Cruise Ships

Audio

Aired 5/8/09

Merchants in San Diego’s Sea Port Village were anticipating a busy few weeks when cruise ships were diverted here from Mexico because of swine flu. But KPBS reporter Katie Orr found out tourists are picky about where they spend their money.

— Merchants in San Diego’s Sea Port Village were anticipating a busy few weeks when cruise ships were diverted here from Mexico because of swine flu. But KPBS reporter Katie Orr found out tourists are picky about where they spend their money.

Raffaella Judd owns a small store in Seaport Village that specializes in mugs. She says the unexpected arrival of at least a dozen cruise ships in San Diego has been a godsend for her store. She says the past week is comparable to her busy summer season.

“Of course much, much slower because you know, it’s just one or two cruise ships at a time. But, you know, especially in this economy, every dollar counts. And they are helping a great deal,” she says.

But while Judd is seeing an increase in business, other merchants say they haven’t noticed a difference. One souvenir store owner says many of the cruise passengers are from California and don’t want t-shirts that say San Diego on them. The diverted ships are expected to continue docking here until the middle of next week.

Katie Orr, KPBS news.

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